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(LEAD) Term of national art museum chief won't be extended

All Headlines 16:30 September 12, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS MMCA director's comments in para 6-8)

SEOUL, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- Bartomeu Mari, director of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), will finish his term in December without extension, sources said Wednesday.

An official who is familiar with the matter at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism told Yonhap News Agency that the director's term won't be extended.

"While hearing various opinions in the Korean art industry, a majority told us that the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art should focus more on establishing the identity of Korean art. So we've decided to find a new director."

"According to the policy, we have notified him that it won't be possible for him to seek a second term," the source said. His term will finish on Dec. 13, and the hiring process for his replacement will start in early October.

The Spanish director had openly expressed his willingness to work for another term. During a press conference in January, he said the three-year term was too short to do a longer project. He is the first foreigner to serve as MMCA director.

In a letter sent to Korean media on Wednesday afternoon, Mari said, "It is a privilege to lead such a major museum, one that has become amongst the largest globally in size, a leading pioneer of its kind in Asia, and which is staffed by teams of excellent people."

During the remaining days of his term, he said he will continue working for successful exhibitions slated for the latter half of this year and "give priority to the planning of the 2019 programs."

"It is my conviction that continuity and stability are central to the success of any museum, and my wish is that these conditions will be found as the museum enters its next stage," he said. "I hope that my contribution, although short and limited in many ways, will be considered as a positive chapter in the story of a great museum."

He served as director of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA), director of Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, Holland, and president of the International Committee of Museums and Collections of Modern and Contemporary Art (CIMAM).

The file photo shows Bartomeu Mari, director of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA). (Yonhap)


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